We Be Jammin’ with Food Forward

Honest Cans Jams for Food Forward

Instead of pranks this April Fool’s Day, Honest joined Food Forward in jamming class. There, we prepared artisanal strawberry and blueberry jam to help the social enterprise arm of the organization. All proceeds from the sale of these preserves support Food Forward’s mission of reconnecting to our food system and creating change around excess food and urban hunger in Southern California. Our goal was to “Harvest Food. Fight Hunger. Build Community” on this Jamming occasion.

Food Forward Uses Excess Food to Fight Urban Hunger

Harvest Food. The two jam recipes we made called for blueberries, strawberries, and lemon juice. Instead of buying these at the grocery store, we followed Food Forward’s approach to use “seconds.” Seconds is the term used by the produce industry to refer to fruits and vegetables that will generally go to waste due to over-ripeness or over-abundance. This produce is often thrown into the trash even though it is still perfectly safe to eat. The Food Forward team collected our blueberries and strawberries from the leftovers at our local farmers’ market and procured the lemons from one of their backyard harvests.

Fight Hunger with Food Forward

Fight Hunger. These ingredients were then mixed with sugar, cooked, and bottled to turn into an all-natural jam, which would be sold to support Food Forward’s effort of redistributing over-abundant food to local people in need. Our artisanal jams will soon be available as a limited-edition batch for sale as part of Food Forward’s Mother’s Day fundraising campaign.

Building Community with Food Forward

Making Jam to Benefit Food Forward

Build Community. Our Honest team gathered at the Gourmandise School in Santa Monica to learn these jamming skills from a culinary expert, Chef Clemence Gossett. Side-by-side we prepared and cooked the ingredients while learning about preventing food waste.

To share the sweetness of giving back, here are the recipes we made with Chef Clemence:

Strawberry Jam Recipe

Strawberry Jam (yields about 18 4-ounce jars)

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds strawberries
  • 2 1/2 lbs sugar
  • 4 ounces fresh lemon juice
  • 2 ounces lemon juice, reserved

Directions

1. Place the strawberries, sugar, and 4 ounces of lemon juice in a large saucepan (at least 12 quarts). Cook over medium heat until it begins to simmer and foam.

2. Once the mixture begins to foam, turn the heat up and stir continuously for about 20 minutes. Strain strawberries and add it in about 15 minutes into the cooking process. If you feel any sticking, turn your heat down.

3. Once a thick jam has developed, add in the remaining lemon juice and stir for 5 minutes.

4. Remove from heat and skim off foam.

5. Pour into hot, sterilized jars.

6. Immediately put a lid on clean, filled jars.

7. Place jars in a pot of boiling water so the water is at least 2” above the lid of the jar. Boil for 10 minutes and then remove.

8. Safely pick up the jars, careful not to tip them sideways, and place on a towel-lined counter or cookie sheet.

9. Once cooled, put in your cupboard for 6-9 months.

Preserving Jams with Food Forward

Blueberry Jam (yields about 5 8-ounce jars)

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. blueberries
  • 1 lb. 8 ounces sugar
  • 5 ounces fresh lemon juice

Directions

1. Place the blueberries, sugar, and lemon juice in a large saucepan (at least 12 quarts). Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until your mixture thickens just slightly. Continue cooking for another 2 minutes.

2. Turn your heat up and stir constantly as the mixture begins to simmer. Once it reached a boil, turn the heat to medium and continue stirring another 10 minutes.

3. Remove from heat and skim off foam.

4. Pour into hot, sterilized jars.

6. Immediately put a lid on clean jars.

7. Place jars in a pot of boiling water so the water is at least 2” above the lid of the jar. Boil for 10 minutes and then remove.

8. Safely pick up the jars, careful not to tip them sideways, and place on a towel-lined counter or cookie sheet.

9. Once cooled, put in your cupboard for 6-9 months.

And, of course, enjoy them on toast, with a scone, or in a tasty sandwich!

Learn more about Food Forward and how you can get involved.

Finding Her Om: Q&A with Yoga Instructor Jessica James (+ Giveaway)

Jessica James

Yoga instructor Jessica James never set out to teach yoga. “Yoga kind of found me, and it has been a love affair ever since,” she says.

Jessica was an actress in  television commercials before she transitioned to teaching yoga 10 years ago. “It [acting] was fun and if yoga hadn’t happened, you would probably still see me selling products on television,” she says.

Now, Jessica is dedicated to yoga, saying her practice evolves all the time: ”It started with general shapes of poses and, as I continue to grow, my alignment has gotten more sophisticated,” Jessica says. “My understanding of my own anatomy has deepened and yoga for me now is about the transformation that the subtle work can bring. The beautiful thing about yoga is that it is an infinite evolution, so next week it may evolve into something different.”

Here, Honestly contributor Jessica James answers some of our questions about practicing yoga:

Q: Tell us about when and why you started practicing yoga?

JJ: I started out doing Kundalini yoga when I was 18. My dad was a priest growing up, so I was really drawn to the gathering of people for something sacred. Then I found a power yoga VHS tape and started practicing hatha yoga at home. When I found a yoga studio with a heated practice room, I was hooked! Yoga is one of those things that when you are ready to hear the yoga call, you answer.

Q: You recently wrote a blog post for us about online yoga classes and how they can be a great way to fit yoga into everyday life. What are the benefits of online yoga classes versus going to a class?

JJ: My favorite part of online yoga is that it gives you the power to practice even when your schedule can’t accommodate a studio class. Life can get so hectic sometimes that getting to a studio is not an option. Online yoga can empower you to practice every day and a daily practice is incredibly transformative.

Yogi Jessica James

Q: How many days per week should a person practice yoga to get the full benefits? Is there a perfect amount of time one should dedicate to yoga daily — 20, 60, 90 minutes?

JJ: Well, traditionally yoga is meant to be practiced every day for an hour and a half, but that is a tall order for many of us. To start, I recommend three times of intentional practice a week. The beauty of yoga is that your body starts to crave practice, so chances are once you get going you will find your own natural rhythm. Shoot for an hour and fifteen minutes a day, but do what you can. I believe consistency is more important than duration.

Q: What is your favorite style of yoga and why? Do certain styles of yoga fit different moods?

JJ: My favorite type of yoga is an “alignment flow” because I am personally working on structural support that my post-baby body calls for. I started in Kundalini, I then went to power yoga, then inversion flow, and now Smartflow. Flow classes and hybrid classes like Hot8 classes are great for fitness and weight loss. Kundalini is great for emotional and energetic uplift, while restorative is powerful for passive opening and relaxation. It is important to explore different styles and teachers when you feel you have hit a plateau or might be losing interest.

Jessica James 2

Q: If we want to combine cardio and yoga, like going for a jog and then taking a yoga class, which do you recommend doing first?

JJ: I recommend cardio first. Your body responds best to stretching when warm. Also Savasna, the resting pose at the end of the yoga practice resets your breath, heart rate, and body temperature to normal. This way you can approach the rest of your day feeling refreshed not depleted.

Jessica James - We Heart Yoga Prenatal Flow DVDQ: When a woman becomes pregnant, should she keep up with her same yoga routine? 

JJ: When a woman becomes pregnant, she should keep up with her same yoga routine with a few modifications. She needs to keep her body temperature low, so if she practices in a hot room she should take a lot of breaks. She should also stop twisting and jumping and be sure to consult her doctor. Often a woman’s yoga practice can deepen during pregnancy because it is one of the few activities still available to her. So you can practice every day if you want, just be sure to educate yourself on the dos and don’ts. My prenatal yoga DVD addresses a lot of these concerns and offers safe and fun ways to practice during pregnancy. But, ultimately, listen to your body and practice from a place of self-love and care.

Q: Are there certain yoga poses pregnant women can’t or shouldn’t do?

JJ: Limitation and precautions are really very personal. I recommend avoiding twists and anything that puts pressure on your belly. Some women will avoid deep backbends and inversions during the third trimester, but many women practice the whole way through. Pregnancy is not a time to tackle new poses, it is more about maintenance. So if you practiced inversions and deep back bends before you were pregnant, you might want to consider modifying them, and if necessary, putting them on the shelf until you begin to rebuild your body with your baby at the side of your yoga mat. I recommend a “soft practice,” where you practice at about 80% of your energy level and rely heavily on props. I have many resources on my Web site about yoga safety during pregnancy. And, of course, consult with your doctor.

Q: Should pregnant women take prenatal yoga classes, or can they just pop into any yoga class?

JJ: I recommend prenatal yoga classes for someone new to yoga, and for the seasoned yogi, a modified practice in a normal class is fine.

Q: How does yoga benefit women during pregnancy?

JJ: Yoga is great during pregnancy for many reasons. I loved it because it helped me manage weight gain and prepare for labor. My favorite gift of prenatal yoga was learning to work with my body during intense physical sensation. I learned how to approach the physical burn of a stretch or long hold with a calm mind. This translates as body memory during labor and delivery, and I relied on it during my natural home birth.

Jessica James 1

Q: For someone considering becoming a yoga instructor, what advice do you have?

JJ: Do it! Becoming a teacher has changed my personal practice so profoundly I can’t imagine my life without it. Take a teacher training course and then start teaching friends. Many new teachers have a hard time getting started because the vast amount of yoga information available can be intimidating. “Why am I qualified to teach” you might ask yourself? Keep in mind that the poses themselves are so effective and powerful that, when taught simply and well, you will become a superstar in no time. Let yourself be a guide and your classes will be inspired.

Want to find your om? Enter to win Jessica James’s Prenatal DVD, a $150 gift certificate to Carve Designs, and a mindful mama package of Honest goodies (body oil, organic belly balm, organic nipple balm, prenatal multi-vitamins, and DHA/Omega-3).  

To enter to win this “Mindful Mama” Giveaway, simply enter a comment by using the Rafflecopter entry form below telling us why you’d like to make yoga part of your life. You also have the option (although not required) to earn two bonus entries by subscribing to our blog and liking our Facebook page. No purchase is necessary to enter to win. This giveaway is only open to U.S. residents 18 years and older. The giveaway will run until 11:59 pm PST Sunday, April 13, 2014.  One winner will be chosen at random. Read the complete giveaway rules here to participate.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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This post is solely for informational purposes. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for medical advice. Before undertaking any course of exercise, you should seek the advice of your physician or other health care provider.

Jessica James has been practicing yoga seriously for 12 years, and for the last 6 years she has developed yoga sets that sculpt the body and clear the mind as a teacher. During her second pregnancy, Jessica shared her own experience with a unique fitness based prenatal yoga program. She has completed 3 yoga alliance certified teacher training courses and currently lives in Malibu, CA with her family.

Monday Meditation: Elliot On Never Saying It’s Too Late

Monday Meditation elliot

Friday Finds: Bird Seed Feeder

Friday Finds

Invite birds to your backyard with this upcycled seed feeder by esprit cabane. The online magazine shows you the sustainable steps for making this rustic-meets-modern “bird bar.” All you need is reclaimed wood, a glass bottle, a hook, some wire, and a sunny Saturday morning. With that, you’ll help the local ecosystem and wildlife conservation.

esprit cabane DIY Bird Feeder

Image by esprit cabane

Meet Sr. Ruby Developer Michelle Yung

Meet Honest Sr. Ruby Developer - Michelle Yung

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned while working at Honest?

It’s so refreshing working for a company that is hyper-focused on their mission of healthy living and giving back to the community. When you work for Honest, it’s so hard to not be educated on living more sustainably and healthily. Inevitably you find yourself adopting better eating habits, working out more, and making health-conscious choices. I think this type of environment, coupled with all the charity work that Honest does, breeds an atmosphere of goodwill in the workplace. I love the people I work with, and love coming in to work everyday knowing that our brand is making a difference in people’s lives.

What is your favorite product?

That’s a tough question! I use all the Honest products, but if I had to choose just one, I’d have to go with the Honest Shampoo + Body Wash. It’s really gentle and versatile as a wash. And I’ve actually found an unconventional use for it! I use it on knits and sweaters that have shrunk in the dryer. I find that if I handwash it in Honest Shampoo + Body Wash and allow it to air-dry, my clothing will be restored to its pre-shrunken state. I’ve used it in this manner for so many articles of clothing and it has yet to fail me!

What is your most memorable Honest moment?

The most memorable Honest moment has to be the non-traditional Thanksgiving canned food drive. Our company got split up into 10 teams competing for “donation dollars,” with each team trying to outdo the other in team spirit and best tower of stacked Thanksgiving food. All the festivities really put a highlight on the Honest’s charitable donations: every team’s charity of choice received a cash donation and 160 Thanksgiving meal boxes were distributed to local families in need.

How do you embrace the Honest lifestyle at home?

A few months after I started my job here, I took the Honest challenge and haven’t looked back! I threw out all my name brand cleaners and replaced them all with Honest products. They are so effective and give me peace of mind. I can’t live without my Honest Dishwasher Pods or Honest Stain Remover Spray.

If you weren’t at work, what would you be doing?

This year I really started getting into cooking! I’m a total novice, but I’m trying to commit to cooking 3-5 dinners a week and bringing my own lunch everyday. So I guess if I weren’t at work, I’d be trying my hand at a new recipe. I find it so satisfying when the dish turns out delicious and I’m definitely comforted knowing each ingredient that went into it. I’m slowly learning how to make my own adjustments to dishes, such as halving the sugar or butter, or making healthier substitutions for certain ingredients.

Most impressive thing I’ve made so far? For a St. Patrick’s day dinner party, I made homemade basil ice cream and it turned out amazing!